How Do We Best Protect A Synagogue?

Our customer has a set budget for electronic security measures and wants

  • Video Cameras
  • Video Intercoms
  • Access Control

Based on their budget we have to spend wisely. This location is a Synagogue and also a day care center.

Cameras are covered - that's easy.

Video intercoms will be set up at two doors and will be accessible on their phone system to buzz people in.

Access control will be added for key doors throughout the facility so staff members can gain access. Standard door propped, door forced events will be programmed.

I would like your feedback on what other systems or services I can provide to help protect this building. I have considered the following:

  1. Put door contacts on all doors so we know if they are shut or not (hooked up to EAC panel and put on map with status)
  2. Put door closers on all doors to make sure they shut (unless propped)
  3. Disable all exterior key cylinders except on doors that have EAC (for over ride).
  4. Have all doors in the facility remain locked at all times.
  5. Mass notification system

My focus really needs to be on getting as much as possible from the camera/intercom/eac systems.

Please let me know what has worked for you and what we should focus on. Any and all ideas are appreciated.

Make sure antipassback controls are implemented to cut down on the risk of credential sharing.

You also might consider using badges as photo IDs, to improve 'at a glance' area security credentials.

Thanks Brian, I will add badges to the list of recommendations

Does the customer require any special considerations for Sabbath access?

Does the customer require extra protection for the Ark? Where and how are ritual objects stored? Do they have any antiques or other high value objects that need to be protected from theft?

Do they keep cash donations on hand? How are the collection boxes stored? How often are they deposited? Who has access to the collection boxes?

How often are services held? Do they require scheduling to accommodate services? How about special events?


No considerations have been specified for Sabbath access, I do not believe we have to turn anything off.

No extra protection has been specified for any valuables yet but I will bring it up to them.

They have told me that Access Control measures will have to be averted during services and events just as a matter of convenience.

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

Ari, is EAC typically allowed during Sabbath with respect to the Orthodoxy?

Related:Is Surveillance Recording Prohibited On The Sabbath For Orthodox Jews?

Typically not. Closing a circuit, triggering a relay, and deliberately performing an action that will cause a relay to trigger (like walking in front of a PIR) are all forbidden according to most but not all sects and subdenominations. Of course, in case of emergency, the rules are suspended, so fire alarms, including pull stations, can be operated as normal. Here's a decent overview of some of the issues involved and some of the workarounds used.